Lancashire Fire and Rescue have warned business owners to ensure that fire safety isn’t compromised as they make changes to their businesses.

The advice comes following the successful prosecution of a licensed premises in Morecambe following a fatal fire.

On 9 October 2019, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a serious fire which led to the tragic deaths of John McCartney and Phillip Townsend, otherwise known as Tony.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, fire investigators discovered a significant number of breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order. The most serious included a failure to identify and control the risks associated with a fan heater using LPG bottled gas, and the inability to safely evacuate the building due to an external security door being locked, preventing the inner fire exit from fully opening.

Area Manager for Prevention and Protection, Matthew Hamer said:

“First and foremost, the thoughts of everyone at Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service are with the families and friends of John and Tony, who lost their lives in this tragic fire.

“Visiting any premises should be a safe activity and no-one should be in a position where their lives are at risk because fire safety isn’t treated as a priority. The fire safety failings at the Gordon Club were extremely serious and led to the deaths of both John and Tony.”

All businesses must ensure that where fire exits are fitted with security measures, these do not prevent people from leaving safely in the event of an emergency.

With the increasing costs of trading, businesses are facing more financial pressures. It is understandable that many business owners are making changes to save money. These changes may mean reducing staff, making alternative heating arrangements, or changing how building interiors are laid out or used.

Despite the rising cost of trading and the difficulties for businesses – fire safety remains vital. It’s extremely important to consider how any changes impact the fire safety of employees, customers, and visitors, and ensure any risk are considered before they are done.

Area Manager Matthew Hamer adds:

“I would encourage business owners and responsible persons to visit our website or call one of our business safety advisors, where advice and guidance can be provided during these challenging times.

(Link to CCTV footage)

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Published On: January 25th, 2023